MAAC women's tournament

March 06, 2003|By Bill Free

MAAC women's tournament

Site: Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton, N.J.

When: Today through Sunday

2002 champion: Saint Peter's

2003 favorite: Siena. The second-seeded Saints are the hottest, most-talented team in the league with eight straight wins, including a 76-64 victory on Feb. 25 that ended a 13-game winning streak by the top-seeded Manhattan Lady Jaspers. Siena and Manhattan tied for first place in the regular-season (15-3), and the teams split their two meetings. The Lady Jaspers got the top seed by the point differential in those two games.

Dark horse: Loyola. The eighth-seeded Greyhounds own a 60-56 victory over third-seeded Niagara, and they nearly upset Siena on the road before losing, 61-59. Loyola also played Siena tough at Reitz Arena in a 71-61 defeat.

Player to watch: Liene Jansone, Siena. The 6-foot-2 Jansone, a junior from Latvia, is one of the league's top centers. She thrives on intensity, is strong inside and can shoot from outside.

Outlook: Siena is apparently peaking at the perfect time. The Saints lead the league in many categories, including average victory margin (8.8) and attendance (1,229). That is proof of a strong program, one headed to the NCAA tournament, barring a major surprise this weekend.

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